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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 6, 2014 8:00am-10:01am EST

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of you grew up with a red letter bible but highlighted words of jesus and i thought about that a lot too. this is the jesus who said love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. he said everyone who makes themselves important will be made humble but everyone and makes themselves humble will be made important. he said whoever wants to be your leader must be your servant and jesus said if the sick people who needed doctor, not those who are healthy, and not come to invite good people but to invite sinn ears. those words used to be easier to live by before i came to congress. fighting for leadership and sound bites and making the evening news is common practice around here. the house is a pretty
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cantankerous place these days but i am sure you all heard. what i am trying to do in our for our group is provide an oasis from all of that. a sanctuary from all the bitter discord. as you can imagine. [applause] .. .. turned to god for strength when she faced, she was faced with the task of raising seven little boys all under the age of 10
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when her husband suddenly died. so that journey of faith from both those women also helped me find my journey of a. and it's always been a great source of inspiration. i believe in the power of prayer and its ability to unlock scores and soften hard. hard. our weekly per group and house is very important and special for keeping me grounded in my faith, and my hope for change. and i cannot imagine doing this job in congress without that, but i'll be honest, it's not always been easy. [laughter] it's a struggle. some days you have to dig deep to find the resolve to love your enemies and put aside your fundamental differences and pray for each other. i've got to tell you, i had to dig really deep, louie, when you held a press conference,
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criticizing that poor women for buying crab legs with food stamps. you weren't even there. it might've been imitation crab. really. [laughter] such a cruel thing. we hope that our experience here today encourages you to think about a fellowship of non-like-minded people where you are with the lord in the middle of it all. [applause] >> i love her. what can i say? but then again i've got a sister who's a democrat, and so -- but that's the i grew up. there were four siblings, and we would argue and foss, but we loved each other. we could still enjoy each other, and heaven help anybody that
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tried to come after one of the four of us because we were tight. no matter what we argued about right before, somebody might try to take us on. so you might understand in, it's easy for me. i feel like i'm right at home, the fuzziness back and forth. people said were you ready for all the backstabbing and his? i explain, i was a deacon of a baptist church, you know? [laughter] i was ready. [applause] but i was blessed to come from a family where my mother and father were followers of jesus. and sometime after my father died, i mean my mother died, my father remarried and my stepmother and father are here's somewhere, and she loves me -- go figure. but i was raised in a home of
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followers of jesus. so that wasn't too terribly difficult. we learned that jesus was the only great leader in the history who said i am the way, the truth and the light. no one goes to paradise except to going through me. and so as cs lewis said, didn't give us a lot of choice but you have to either believe he was a liar, in essence, or a lunatic, or he was who he said he was, the lord. kind of reminded me, when i had, kathy when they asked me, hey, louie, do you want supper? i said sure. what's the choices? she said yes or no. [laughter] that was kind of the choice you get. anyway, but a lawyer, and my dad, it took him a while to get over mother. dad wanted me to go to med
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school, and were pretty brokenhearted when i went to law school, but kind of got -- at this kind of recovered somewhat from that, but it was a lawyer who asked jesus, say, tell us, what is the greatest commandment? he said, love the lord. he said the second is like love one another. on those two things hang all of the of the law, everything. in scripture. and i really came true to me, made more sense. my mother was found to have a brain tumor in the late 70s. they told her it could be back in your comic to be 20 years, it took 15 before it occur. and they're all just at one point said she may have six months to live. at that point this brilliant woman who put herself through bailout without anybody else's financial help working full-time, she was amazing, but
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she was reduced to a wheelchair and she could not really speak without really struggling. and so our families, all for the siblings, our families would come and spend time but we decided just before children, one would go spend a weekend with mother, since we're getting closer to the end. and it was great. saturday morning we sat around the breakfast table, and there we were, good nature, but going back and forth giving each other a hard time, remembering things, discussing old times, laughing. we were probably there two, three hours before mother finally was able to struggle and speak a word. and it had been such a wonderful time, just laughing and bringing mother, reminding her of great things, fun times. and she finally spoke up and she
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said, this -- we got quiet. she's the reason we were there. we would'v would have waited al. she struggled on and said, is -- my -- favorite -- thing. the next day that came clear as i drove home. what were we doing? we were loving her. we were loving each other. and if you were the heavenly parent, wouldn't that be your two favorite things as well? and that's what we come together to do here today. [applause] >> you know, one of the most remarkable things about this breakfast is all of the
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international friends who have come to be with us, and bless us and live it up this experience. more than 130 nations are present in this room this morning. isn't that amazing? [applause] >> we have far too many international dignitaries to introduce all of you, but we are so grateful you are here. we are so blessed and honored to have you here. thank you for coming. we do have two extra special guests that i would like to ask them to rise and be recognized. the president of albania is here. would you stand? [applause]
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and the president of haiti is here. thank you for joining us. [applause] so we welcome all of you, especially our special guests and your spouses, and with our best wishes and our prayers for your countries best. >> and now we're like to begin the introduction of our head table. these are the folks are going to lead us through this experience of scripture, prayer, and inspired songs. please hold your applause until we got them all introduced. all the way down to my right is the four time grammy award winner gospel singer, yolanda adams. [applause] >> okay, the president doesn't hold his applause, i guess it's
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okay for all of us. [laughter] so we think she is worth this whole trip by herself. she is from houston, texas, and at one point was a second and third grade teacher before embarking on a successful career in music. you're looking forward to her powerful witness in song. seated next to yolanda is bethany hamilton. [applause] who will deliver a reading from the scripture and share inspirational remarks. i'm pretty sure she's a national prayer breakfast first surfer other than you, mr. president. [laughter] her amazing story of faith, courage and resilience has inspired millions to her book, soul surfer, and the major motion picture about her life. next we're honored to have rear admiral richard breckenridge of the united states navy. he has studied aerospace naval engineering and also served on submarines. so we're pretty sure he knows his job at the pentagon from the
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top to the low bottom of the seas. you offer a prayer for our national leaders. next to him is a former house colleague ray lahood. he represented peoria, illinois, in congress for 14 years and served as president obama's secretary of transportation. is also a former teacher who got interested in government service i teaching his students about the constitution. he will offer a prayer for world leader. next we have senator bob casey of pennsylvania. senator casey's -- senators casey and weaker organized the weekly senate breakfast. and tomorrow morning, thank god, but go to work and put together the 2015 national prayer breakfast experience. god's blessings on you. [laughter] >> and finally anchoring our side of the table is a great champion for our kids, a strong role model for us to get healthy, the first lady of the united states, michelle obama.
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[applause] >> him and countrand i'm not fot them going to get to introduce the president later. [laughter] >> and to our first lady, i've been called an anchor before of the republican party but it don't think it was a good thing the way she was talking about that, pretty sure. [laughter] that's a good thing. and by the way, you know, we've got a lot of cameras down there in front, and it probably is
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worth a picture because this may be the only time you will ever see janice hahn to my right. [laughter] and me to her left on anything. >> i know. so true. >> well, it's my honor to introduce the folks on this side of the head table. and, of course, we are honored to have the president of our energetic, irrepressible vice president, mr. joe biden. [applause] and next is our speaker who i will introduce later, but i did want to recognize his spouse, and so would you help me welcome
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shivam. [applause] >> and next to her is my wife. yes, we are separated by three people. okay, we're separated at this breakfast but we are not really separated, okay? don't start the rumor just because there are -- 35 and hala half years together. she has renewed the option for another year. [laughter] [applause] our next to that i get to introduce our friends, roger wicker and i served in the house before he ran, literally ran down the hall. and i really like roger and i really like eliot engel, and i hope it doesn't ruin your chances for reelection that i say that publicly, but i really
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like both of you so much and am so thrilled that you're here. eliot engel serving in the house together, and it is just an honor and pleasure to have you both here. and, of course, roger wicker will be co-chairing next year. so see there? it will just get better and better, clearly. and also on the end we have a singer extraordinaire. i think the first song that i heard from him that really captured my heart, people need the lord. but he has a voice like just, it blesses my heart. so i was so thrilled when steve green could be here this morning. he was raised in south america, so he speaks more than english
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very fluently. he has sung in over 50 different countries. and his parents were missionaries in south america. he has always had a heart for the lord. and the only thing that exceeds his incredible voice is his humility. ladies and gentlemen, help me walk him steve green. [applause] -- help me welcome steve green. ♪ ♪
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>> at this time, represented eliot engel will come and share scripture with us. good morning, everybody. i knew they would put me on right after steve green so i couldn't possibly compete with them. but it's wonderful seeing everyone, and wonderful looking out and seeing so many people. the late great songwriter and singer pete seeger passed away last week. he wrote a song which has always been one of my favorites called
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turn, turn, turn. and he wrote that song based on ecclesiastes chapter three. that has always been one of my favorite scriptures as well. so i would like to read the first part of this morning. do everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose for having. a time to be born and a time to die. a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together. a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. a time to seek and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time
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to cast away. a time to rend and a time to sew. a time to keep silent and a time to speak. a time to love, and a time to hate. a time for war and a time for peace. thank you. [applause] >> mr. president, madam first lady, mr. vice president, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. >> good morning spend as you've been told, i and senator roger wicker of mississippi. and together with my colleague, bob casey of pennsylvania, we are responsible for presiding
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over the senate prayer breakfast each week. the senate prayer breakfast is a special time of the week for us. an hour on wednesday mornings for prayer, for singing, and for one of our colleagues to share a few thoughts on reflections. group represents different faith traditions, and we certainly represent all points on the political spectrum. we hold our policy views strongly and we often fight for those views on the senate floor. but when you join hands and pray together, as we do at the end of every prayer breakfast, it becomes a little easier to work together in the constructive spirit. it's remarkable how often i personally lead our breakfast with a new blessing and a new perspective.
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the fellowship and camaraderie of the senate prayer breakfast extends the parliamentarians from all over the world. they are welcome there. and just a few weeks ago a foreign head of state sent word to us that he would greatly appreciate our prayers for him and his country. we welcome these opportunities, too. we also joined together as the house does in singing hymns. we seem to prefer the old traditional ones, such as amazing grace, joy to the world, or it is well with my soul. now, a word about our song leadership. until his retirement last year, senator danny akaka of hawaii was the one who always made sure our group had just the right song. as senator a and a house member -- senator akaka and a house member held this role and serve in this capacity, for decades,
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we miss danny now in his retirement, but we are fortunate to have chaplain barry black who leads us now with his rich bass voice, the closest thing to the voice of god. we will here on this earth. the senate prayer breakfast is a meaningful tradition that has endured for more than 65 years. and so many ways it exemplifies psalm 131, behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. ladies and gentlemen, my brother in college, senator bob casey. [applause] >> thanks, roger. good morning mr. president, first lady michelle obama, mr. vice president, and
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distinguished guests both here in the united states in from around the world. we are honored by your presence. we are grateful to have this opportunity. i'm grateful as well to share leadership with the prayer breakfast in the senate with roger wicker. and it's a time for one day a week for about one hour, it's a time for us to come together in prayer and fellowship, but it is also a time to express the gratitude. as my mother would say, to count your blessings. sometimes we don't do that enough. but also i hope it is, and i think for many of us it is, it's a time when we are reminded of our obligations. a great him entitled we are called, the refrain of that goes as follows. we are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another and to walk humbly with god. the first words in that hymn go as follows, come live in the
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light. and we hope, i think it's true of most weeks at the senate prayer breakfast, we hope that the light of the breakfast helps us throughout the week. in all that we do. and as our purpose born, that the light of this breakfast will not just warm our hearts, but help us appreciate our many blessings, and to go forth in prayer. god bless you. thank you. [applause] ..
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>> that i would be able to come and lead us in prayer as a nation at this setting. and i just want to thank each and every one of you more being here. i know how hard it is. i know many of you traveled from far distances to be here, but what a testimony of the fabric of our country that we are a praying nation, that we rely upon god and his good hand upon the united states of america. so i know curt and other challenges -- security and other challenges might have head it hard, but now at this moment we get the opportunity to put away the distractions of the world and to unite our hearts and our spirits together as we pray for our great nation and as we pray for our leaders. and, you know, in the military leadership by example is a pretty big deal. and i can think of no finer example than for our commander in chief to be present here each and every year to, again, demonstrate his reliance on god.
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[applause] thank you, mr. president. [applause] so let's take a deep breath, quiet our hearts as we seek god's continued blessing on our nation. let us prayment gracious heavenly father, worthy is your great name. lost are saved, find their way at the sound of your great name. all condemned feel no shame at the sound of your great namement hungry souls find their strength at the sound of your great name. every fear has no place at the sound of your great name. god, you are high and lifted up, and we praise your great name this morning. and as we consider your glory, we become ever mindful of the times where we fall short.
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living in a manner contrary to image bearers who carry your great name. forgive us, lord, restore us and lead us to live in a way that reflects your loving kindness. help us to reach out to others with open hearts and open to doors in the power of your great name. father, we're especially mindful of the poor here in our country and around the world and the special heart that you have for them. and we lift them up to you and, again, ask you that you equip us to serve them. we're thankful, heavenly father, your plans cannot be thwarted, but stand firm forever. that the purposes of your heart do, indeed, endure across generations. we see this in the way you continually and faithfully bless the course of our nation. and thank you, god, for the manifest ways you have blessed our families this past year. now, o lord, we lift up our national leaders. you have appointed and established them in these positions of tremendous responsibility, and we pray that you continue to equip and
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encourage them as they well and faithfully exercise their duties and responsibilities. these are, indeed, trying times for our country, and we need best of them, we need their best focus and leadership. heavenly father, we con possess that we often -- confess that we often fail our elected leaders by becoming quick to criticize and slow, so very slow to pray. and we ask you to change the nature of our hearts. in your word you command us to pray for all officials serving in high positions, for our president and our vice president where we lift them up right now here in your midst and ask for your blessing on their lives and their families. for members of congresses and the constituents they represent, that you would give them more strength, more perseverance, more tenacity to do your goodwill. and, father, for leaders within our military, for our service secretaries, for our service chiefs all the way down the chain of command to our men and
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women in uniform and to their families, that's a big number, heavenly father, but we know as we pray and bow before you, that your blessings can ripple down and spread throughout our military. we pray that our leaders will have the wisdom and courage to provide security, peace, order and freedom that we may in turn lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way. give them the inspiration and fortitude to act on difficult decisions and the sensitivity and compassion to care for all they lead. we ask this with confidence knowing that yours, o lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the imagine is city and -- majesty and the splendor for everything in heaven and earth is yours. blessing and honor come from you. you are the ruler of all things. in your hands are strength and power to exalt and to give strength to all. now, our god, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name,
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your great and glorious name, and all god's people said amen. thank you. [applause] >> aloha. [laughter] i am coming out from hawaii where i was born and raised. i am so honored to be here with you, and i will be reading two scripture passages. please join me in reading god's word, luke chapter 10, verses 29-37. so he asked jesus and who is my neighbor. in reply, jesus said a man was going down from jerusalem to jericho when he was attacked by
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robbers. they stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away leaving him half dead. a priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. so, too, a levite when he came to the place and saw him passed by on the other side. but a samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was. and when he saw him, he took pity on him. he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. when he the put the man on his own donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him. the next day he took out -- [inaudible] and gave them to the innkeeper. look after him, he said, and when i return, i will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. which of these three do you think was the neighbor to man who fell into the hand of robbers?
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the expert in the law replies, the one who had mercy on him. jesus told him go and do likewise. or our keynote speaker will be sharing more on this passage soon. i would like to share a second passage with you this morning that speaks truth to my life. please join me in reading ephesians 3, verses 14-21. for this season i bow my knees before the father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power to his spirit in your inner being. so that christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints whether the breadth, width, height and depth and to know the love of christ
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that surpasses all knowledge that you may be filled with the fullness of god. now to who is able to do far more abundantly than we ask or think according to the powers at work within us. to him be the glory and the church and in christ jesus throughout all generations forever ask can ever, amen. forever and ever, amen. when we face difficulties and adversities in life, many of us find it hard to comprehend the reason for these struggles. growing up in hawaii, i, you know, i started surfing when i was about 4 years old and, you know, my parents would push me in, and my dad would catch me and get me back out there. i was just a happy-go-lucky girl and just loved being in the ocean and spending time in god's creation. and as i grew up, i grew these hopes and dreams of doing well with my surfing and adventuring
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the world and learning all that i could. and then when i was 13 years old, i faced a very difficult time, and i lost my arm to a shark. i thought for a time i had lost more than just my arm. i felt as though my hopes and dreams to become a pro surfer and adventure the world were stripped away. but the faith i had in jesus christ gave me strength to comprehend and lean on him for understanding even as a young girl. but god, who is able to take my life and do much more than i could ever ask or think just beyond surfing. i am now honored to be a role model, an inspiration to many young girls throughout america and the world and to people of all walks of life. ultimately, to share the hopes and salvation that there is in jesus christ.
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because of where jesus has brought me, i have no regrets for the adversities god has allowed me to go through. and as i look at my life, i see that, you know, maybe you could look at me and think, wow, have pity on her, she lost her arm to a shark, but i look at it as something beautiful, and god has taken something that seems awful and turned it into something incredibly amazing. i just look at young girls and, you know, as kids facing diseases. i was recently in hawaii, and i had ten kids, and all these kids are facing a tremendous amount at such a young age. i got to take them surfing and just remind them that there's hope and remind them of the love that jesus christ has more them. has for them. for many of us it's easy to look at the things of this world to solve our challenges and the obstacles in life. but when we submit our lives to christ, his grace, mercy, truth,
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peace and love will bring true fulfillment to our lives. be thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> and i have to follow bethany. [laughter] this is the day the lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad. now, i am a practicing catholic,
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and that means many things to me, but it also means i believe in miracles. and i want all of you here today to recognize that we all have experienced a miracle. louie gohmert has been transformed. [laughter] i never thought i'd see the day. [laughter] i served with louie, many of you in this room have served with louie, and you can't believe this is the louie gohmert that you knew before you walked into this room. [laughter] he's been transformed! it's a miracle! [laughter] now, we have to hope and pray, and i know there have been a lot of prayers by the organizers of this national prayer breakfast, that a miracle would happen for louie. and it did. your prayers have been answered. [laughter]
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let's hope this miracle continues, louie, beyond the 9:30 hour here. [laughter] let me begin by thanking all of the world leaders that are here. the success of of the national prayer breakfast fends on you -- fends on you all -- depends on you all being here, and we are grateful for you traveling far and wide to participate in the national prayer breakfast. it means so much to the success. thank you. [applause] and also part of the success is having president obama and mrs. obama here. i know that we all think that you all came to see us, but many of these world leaders came mt. name of the lord -- in the name of the lord but also, mr. president, thank you for coming every year, participating,
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offering your reflections. it means a lot to the national prayer breakfast. we're grateful to you. [applause] and to michelle. [applause] and also the vice president has been here every year. and when he was a senator, participated. so, mr. haven't, thank you for -- mr. vice president, thank you for honoring us. [applause] let me read a pass am from scripture and then offer a prayer to conclude. and i want to read the beatitudes because i think it does reflect what world leaders need to be thinking about. these are jesus' words. blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. blessed are the meek, for they
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will inherit the earth. blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see god. blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of god. blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven. for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you, you are the salt of
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the earth. but if the salt loses its saltlessness, how can it be made salty again? it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown away and trampled understood foot. underfoot. you are the light of the world. the town built on a hill cannot be hidden. either people light a lamp and put it under a bowl, instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. in the same way, let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven. let us pray. let us pray for all world leaders, that their leadership will be inspired and carried occupant through the grace of god and motivated by jesus' word to help the poor, help the
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infirmed, help the less fortunate. we pray that all world leaders are motivated to do what is right and just for the people who provide them the privilege to serve and the honor to serve. god bless, everyone. [applause] >> thank you, ray. and i must say, you were talking about blessing people's faith. things about you that i really appreciated. [laughter] and i'm not sorry that i invited you to read it. [laughter] you're still a class guy, and i think -- [laughter] but just as we heard our new friend eliot engel read from scripture, there's a time to every purpose under heaven. and there's a time when we can argue and debate the important
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issues and our disagreement on how to go about achieving the best for america, and this isn't it. this is the time we come together in one heart, one accord. [applause] and our next speaker is going to illuminate that issue. so we've been encouraged by the prayers that have been prayed, instructed by the scriptures that have been read and inspired by what's been sung and said. and now we're going to be challenged. dr. rajiv shah is the administrator of the united states agency for international development. it's a $20 billion agency charged with the task of promoting global economic growth, health, food security and democracy. dr. shah has earned both a medical degree and a master's degree in health economics.
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he worked for the gates townation -- foundation, was the undersecretary of agriculture and was appointed head of the usaid all before he was 40 years old. you would think a man that has done all of that would not be as humble as he is. and you read one of c.s. lewis' book, "the screw tape letters," you find that the senior demon is encouraging the young demon. he says the guy you've been assigned to tempt, he's a very humble guy. have you pointed that out to him? [laughter] because that's a good way to pull him away from being humble. and even the if he catches himself being proud of being humble, it's still not all lost. point out he should be proud that he caught himself being proud of being humble. [laughter] but our next speaker has not yielded to the temptation to be
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proud for being humble. he is an amazing man with an amazing background, and he's still humble. he's become a very good friend to a number of our senators and house breakfast groups. a couple of the senators have shared with me that they pray together regularly, have traveled abroad with him, they've seen his heart and prayed with him about the issues that he's going to talk about this morning. so, friends, help me welcome dr. rajiv shah. [applause] >> thank you, representative gohmert, for that incredibly generous and kind introduction. wow, this is a big room. [laughter] mr. president, mr. president, mrs. obama, secretary kerry,
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members of congress and distinguished guests from around the world, thank you. i'm so happy my wife is here with me this morning. this is a great change of pace for us. as the parents of three young children, most of our breakfast conversations are about keeping toys off the table and sticky hands off each other. [laughter] so we're pleased to be here. president obama, thank you for the opportunity you've afforded me to serve our country. and i see my friend, senator inhofe, here today. we make quite an unlikely pair. at one point we were traveling in rural ethiopia with several close friends when our van got stuck in the mud. after a pause, the senator generously suggested that everyone under 70 should get out and push. [laughter] the next thing i knew, i was covered in mud and once again because of congress. [laughter]
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[applause] in this city and 180 countries around the world, prayer groups like these are strengthening our hearts, giving purpose to our lives and helping all of us lead with greater moral courage. that was my experience when i was invited to join a small senate prayer group. the labels of party and background fell away. and i saw how, by remaining devoted to faith and setting high aspiration, we can transform our world for the better. this morning i want to shower an overarching purpose -- share an overarching purpose worthy of this room that is come together to -- that has come together to follow the teachings of jesus. let us work together to end extreme poverty in our lifetime. [applause]
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because this is now achievable but only if all of us from science, business, government and faith come together for the poor. we can end extreme poverty for the 1.1 billion people who still live on a dollar and a quarter a day. we can end it for the 860 million people who will go to bed hungry tonight. and welcome end it for the 6.6 million children -- we can end it for the 6.6 million children who will die this year before ever reaching their fifth birthday. as terrible as these numbers are, they do not adequately describe what poverty is and what extreme poverty does. it drains our basic human dignity. and if we're being honest, sometimes it drains our
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compassion for those who suffer. but there is good news of a practical nature to report. on continent after continent, a smaller share of people live this way than at any other time in our history. and today we know that a condition that defined the state of humanity when jesus walked the earth and only started coming down in the last 200 years can now be completely eliminated in the next 20. jesus' teachings, like so many faiths, clearly call on us to practice our faith the hard way by serving the least fortunate. governments can't do this by themselves, businesses won't do this alone. faith communities and charitable efforts alone are not enough.
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but together we're making astonishing progress thanks to the leadership of president obama and the prime ministers of both -- presidents of both parties before him and so many of you in this room. and i believe that the spirit of this prayer breakfast is essential to strengthening our hearts and uniting our purpose to finish this mission. holding hands in prayer with senate leaders is not what i ever would have expected to do in my life. i grew up in suburban detroit where ever family in our indian-american community had an immigrant story to share. of hard work, sacrifice and absolute faith in the american dream. when my grandfather gave his life savings to send my dad to america, i think he hoped but never could have imagined how
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this nation and its values would lift our family. that my mom would run an award-winning montessori school or my dad would work as an engineer on an a i apollo -- apollo mission and at ford motor company. as a child, my hindu heritage was an extension of my community. a place to fit in and feel loved. growing up, the holy word of god and the wishes of my mom seemed interchange bl. [laughter] for the longest time, i thought god's first two commandments were sit still and don't slouch. [laughter] the desire to connect to my family's history drew me to southern india the summer after college to fight disease in a very remote community. on my first day, i was exhausted and jet lagged. i had taken three flights and a
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long bus ride deep into a jungle, but i was buzzing with nervous energy. i was ready to make a huge contribution to humanity that very afternoon. [laughter] i dropped off my bag, and i walked into a neighboring village, and along a dirt road i stopped short. there was a child maybe 4 or 5 years old, rags hung off her emaciated body. her feet were bare. and she looked at me with uncertainty in her wide eyes. i thought i had known the face of poverty until i saw that little girl. and i have seen her again and again. i've seen her in the slums of daka and hills of guatemala and the villages of eastern congoment -- congo.
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and then two years ago i saw her one more time. i was standing with dr. jill biden and dr. bill frist in the world's largest refugee camp close to the somali border. we met mothers who had carried their children for weeks across famine-stricken lands and terrorist of-held valleys. in the dust and dirt of the camp, i knelt down next to a young woman named habiba. let me tell you her story. desperate to escape the famine, she began a long journey to safety with her two children by her side. but as she pressed on, her children became too weak to stay on their feet. first she carried one, then the other. eventually, the strain became so much that she struggled to continue.
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she looked down at her two children, and she said a prayer. and then she made the excruciating decision the leave one of them behind so she could save the other. that girl in india, that child left in somalia. were they somehow lesser than our sons and daughters? did their fathers love them less? did their mothers? did god? a few moments ago bethany hamilton shared with us the parable from luke. i grew up with this teaching, and i know many of us did. but i hope we can listen to the it with new ears today, because not only did everyone else, prominent people, walk past a
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man lying half dead on the side of the road, but they actually walked over to the other side to avoid having to deal with him at all. .. i saw this new approach at work the same day in that refugee camp where in the swirling dust of war and hardship there was also hope. children were receiving great new vaccines that wouldn't have been available to poor kids a
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few years ago. in just the last decade, we build partnerships with vaccine companies, immunize 440 million kids, and said 6 million lives -- and saved 6 million lives. [applause] similar efforts have cut the rates of children dying from malaria in half and were close to eliminating the transition, completely eliminating the transmission of hiv/aids from mothers to their infant children up. [laughter] today, we are building on this approach by including countries and faith institutions and community health workers so that every child everywhere lives to celebrate their fifth birthday. after leaving the refugee camp, we visited agricultural scientists developing seeds that could withstand drought and irrigation systems that poor farmers could afford.
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in just a few years, our partner countries have increased budgets for agriculture and big critically needed reforms, and businesses are investing in food production. as a result, we've improved nutrition for 12 million kids, and more than 7 million farmers are moving their families out of subsistence poverty through their own hard work and enterprise. today, we're building on this approach by including university researchers and civil society leaders so that every child everywhere has the nutrition he needs to thrive. and then just the last few months, we have brought this new approach to energy. in kanji that have embraced reform we've secured partnerships with multinational companies and local entrepreneurs in africa so that jobs can be created and children can read at night. today, we are exporting projects with unlikely partners to bring
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affordable clean energy to 20 million homes and businesses in the markets of the future. taken together, these efforts are dramatically changing the face of extreme poverty. just look at tanzania. as we have beaten back diseases, that nation has cut child death by more than two-thirds, a bread back this is emerging in southern energy access is enabling businesses to create jobs. economy is growing at more than 7%, and a nation once defined by widespread extreme poverty can now credibly envision its elimination before the end of the next decade. [applause] this is true, this story is true in country after country. six of the 10 fastest-growing economies are in sub-saharan africa. leaders from college campuses to corporate boardrooms across our
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own country are increasingly focused on the needs of the world's poor. and as more nations in extreme poverty, the challenge will narrow, allowing us to focus our energies on a smaller number of countries until extreme poverty is gone. but the only way we will get there, the only way, is with leadership from this room. those who lead this work in government will need to focus relentlessly on data, accountability, and results. those who lead our partner countries the need to prioritize the poor, fight corruption, and work with businesses to solve problems. those who lead our great nation will need to make tough, tough decisions that keep us committed to this mission and continued our nation's proud history as the world's unquestioned humanitarian leader.
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fo[applause] and those who lead communities of faith need to get just as pope francis is teaching us, and shine a bright light on poverty. prayer reminds us of this common purpose your and this morning i would like to tell you about a colleague for whom i have prayed. her name was tony. she was the mother of two small children, whom she loved dearly. she had a passion for running marathons and learning new languages. and as a usaid foreign service officer in haiti, no challenge was too big or too complex for her. last summer, i stood on the tarmac of dover air force base waiting for a military plane to
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land. it was dark and silent as i stood with tony's family. delights of dover eliminating a small area in front of us. and then at 1 a.m., the casket of my fallen colleague, came home to her family. tony was a community health specialist who had been on her way to a clinic in haiti when she was hit in an accident. she had been on the road that day to ensure that the clinic was fully stocked with the right medicine to save kids lives. she loved those kids like her own. that night at dover, her mother-in-law, through the pain of her loss, leaned over and told me that tony had been so very proud to serve her country.
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to represent the best of our values to the world. [applause] >> i have learned from tony, as i've learned from my colleagues and many of you, that this work, like prayer, changes us as much or more than it changes the world. tony's life had a calling and a purpose. can we adopt her spirit of commitment? can we love all children like our own? and can we, in whatever sphere we live, embrace our faith, summon our courage, and go and
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do likewise? thank you. [applause] >> thank you, dr. shah, for the amazing and inspiring challenge to us all. and now, mr. president, we thank you. we thank you for the privilege of having breakfast with you, and the first lady. and all of us, all of you, and go home and find an opportunity
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to do a little name dropping that while you were in washington, d.c., you had an opportunity to have breakfast with the obama's. [laughter] mr. president, you know from the days when you were a member of the senate group that put on this breakfast that one of the core values and key purposes of this breakfast is for the citizens of this country, and the citizens of the world, to come around our president and to show our love and extend our support in prayer. so, mr. president, madam first lady, for the challenges you take on, we admire you. for the sacrifices you make, we honor you. and for the burdens you alone can bear for all of us, we pray for you. today and everyday. my daughter, katie, who volunteers for compassion international, flew in from colorado last night to be with her mom this morning. and while we were getting ready this morning, she said, did you
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ever think that you would have an opportunity to introduce the president of the united states? and i said, not in my wildest dreams. so ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure and honor to introduce to you the president of the united states of america, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. please, everyone have a seat. give praise and honor to god who brought us here this morning. thank you so much for our two outstanding co-chairs, louie and
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jan. i've to say, i have enjoyed a behind the scenes look at the two of these folks getting this breakfast organized this morning. but there does seem to be that sibling thing a little bit, louie. they love each other, but they've got to go at each other a little bit. i, by the way, have always found louie to be unbelievably gracious every time i've seen him. i don't watch tv. [laughter] i've got to say. but he is a good man and a great storyteller. and janice was just reminding me the first time we saw each other was at one of my first defense when he first ran for office. it's wonderful to see all the dignitaries and friends who are here today, the presidents and
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prime ministers, the leaders of business, the nonprofit community, to my incredible passionate incredible friend and vice president, joe biden. members of the administration who do such great work every single day. to my fellow hawaiians, it is wonderful to see you. i should tell you that my surfing is not that good. i just want to be clear. but my body surfing is pretty good. [laughter] it is. and raj shah, who is just such an incredible young leader and is out there every single day, i could not be more proud of his outstanding leadership at u.s. aid. and it's a good reminder -- [applause]
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it's a good reminder of the dedicated public service that i had the chance to interact with every single day. they do great work, don't always get a lot of credit. sometimes gets subject to the sort of criticism that you do when you're in public life but raj is single-minded in terms of trying to help as many people as possible all around the world and is an extraordinary representative for our country so i'm very, very proud of them. although he does always make me feel like an underachiever whenever -- [laughter] -- whenever i listen to them. should have been working harder and not slouching. [laughter] dale jones and everyone else who worked on this breakfast this morning, thank you. and, obviously, i'm thrilled to
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be joined by my extraordinary wife. and she does a great job every single day keeping me in line. [applause] just two of the things. to our men and women in uniform all around the world, we pray for them. [applause] many of them, such great work to keep us safe. and then there is one colleague of mine who is missing today, a great friend of mine who i came into the senate with, senator tom coburn. tom is going through some tough times right now, but i love them dearly even though we're from different parties. he's a little closer than louise political perspective than mine, but he is a good man and i am keeping him and his family in my prayers all the time. to just a shout out to my good friend tom coburn.
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[applause] >> so each time we gather, it's a chance to set aside the rush of our daily lives, to pause with humility before an almighty god, to seek his grace, and mindful of our own imperfections to remember the admonition of the book of romans, which is especially fitting for those of us in washington. do not claim to be wiser than you are. so here we put aside labels of parties and ideology, and recall what we are first, all children of a loving god, brothers and sisters called to make his work our own. but in this work, as lincoln said, our concern should not be whether god is on our side, but
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whether we are on god's side. and he we give thanks for guidance in their own individual faith journeys. in my life, he directed my path to chicago in my work with churches who were intent on breaking the cycle of poverty, and hardheaded communities there. and i'm grateful, not only because i was broke and the church that many, but because it led to everything else. it led me to embrace jesus christ as my lord and savior. it led me to michelle, the love of my life and we are blessed with two extraordinary dollars. it led me to public service, and the longer i served, especially in moments of trial or doubt, the more thankful i am of god's guiding hand. now, here as americans we a firm
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the freedoms endowed by our creator. among them the freedom of religion. and yet this freedom safeguard religion a long as to flourish as one of the most religious countries on earth. but it works the other way, too. because religion strengthens america. brave men and women of faith to challenge our conscious and brought us closer to our founding ideals, from the abolition of slavery to civil rights, workers rights. so many of you carry on this at work today for the child who deserves a school worthy of his dreams, to the parents working overtime to pull themselves out of poverty, for the immigrants who want to step out of the shadows and become a full member of our american family, for the young girl who prays for rescue from the modern slavery of human trafficking, and outrage that we
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must all join together to end. to our office, office of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships led by melissa rogers, we are proud to work with you on this, and many other issues. and i invite you to join us in a new initiative that i announced in my state of the union address, and effort to help more young men of color overcome the odds. because so many boys in this country need that mentor to help them become a man, and a good father. i've felt the love that faith can still in our lives during my visit to the holy land in jerusalem, sacred to jews, christians and muslims. i felt it in houses of worship, whether paying my respects at the tomb of archbishop romero in san salvador, visiting a synagogue on the eve of rosh hashanah, the blue mosque in istanbul or buddhist temple in bangkok your and i felt the
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compassion of so many faith leaders around the world, i am especially looking forward to returning to the vatican next month to meet his holiness, pope francis, whose message about caring for -- is one i hope all of us he'd. like magic of his answered the call of jesus who said follow me, and he inspires us with his words of peace as humility, his impulse to serve the cause of social justice. yet even as our faith sustains us, it's also clear that around the world freedom of religion is under threat. that's what i want to reflect on this morning. we see governments engaging in discrimination and violence against the faith. sometimes we see religion twists in an attempt to justify hatred
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and persecution against other people just because of who they are, how they pray or who they love. old tensions are stoked fueling conflicts along religious lines as we've seen in central african republic recently. even though to harm anyone in the name of faith is to diminish our own relationship with god. extremists said, to an ignorant vitalism that shows they don't understand the faith they claim to profess. for the killing of the innocent is never fulfilling god's will. in fact, as the ultimate betrayal of god's will. today, we profess the principles we know to be true. we believe that each of us is wonderfully made in the image of god. we, therefore, believe in the inherent dignity of every human being. dignity that no earthly power can take away.
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and central to that dignity is freedom of religion. a right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose. or to practice no faith at all. and to do this free from persecution and fear. our faith teaches us that in the face of suffering we can't stand idly by, that we must be that good samaritan. as isaiah and we are told to be right, to justice, defend the oppressed. know the feelings of no stranger having yourselves been strangers in the land of egypt. the koran instructs stand out firmly for justice. so history shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people, including the freedom of religion, our ultimate more just and more peaceful and more successful. nations that do not uphold these
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rights, so the bitter seeds of instability and violence and extremists, so freedom of religion matters to our national security. [applause] as i said before, there are times when we work with governments that don't always meet our highest standards, but they are working with his encore interests such as the security of the american people. at the same time we also deeply believe that it's in our interests, even with our partners, sometimes with our friends, to stand up for universal human rights. so promoting religious freedom is a key objective of u.s. foreign policy. and i'm proud that no nation on earth does more to stand up for the freedom of religion around the world than the united states of america.
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[applause] it is not always comfortable to do, but it is right. when i meet with chinese leaders, we do a lot of business with the chinese and the relationship is extraordinarily important not just to our two countries but to the world. but i stress that realizing china's potential rests on upholding universal rights, including for christians and tibetan buddhists and uighur muslims. when i meet with the president -- [applause] -- of burma, a country that is trying to emerge out of long darkness into the light of a representative government, i said that burma's return to the international community depends on respecting basic freedoms, including for christians and
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muslims. i've pledged our support to the people of nigeria who deserve to worship in the churches and mosques in peace free from care. i've put the weight of my office behind the efforts to protect the people of sudan and south sudan, including religious minorities. as we support israelis and palestinians as they engage in direct talks, we have made clear that lasting peace will require freedom of worship and access to holy sites for all faiths. i want to take this opportunity to thank secretary kerr secretas extraordinary passion and principle diplomacy that is brought to the cause for peace in the middle east. thank you, john. [applause] more broadly, i've made the case that no society can to succeed unless it guarantees the rights of all of its peoples, including religious minorities, whether they are among the come muslims
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in pakistan or coptic christians in egypt. and in syria, it means that ensuring a place for all people, alawites and sunni, shia and christian. going forward, we will keep standing for religious freedom around the world. and that includes, by the way, opposing blasphemy and defamation of religion measures which are promoted sometimes as an expression of religion, but, in fact, all too often could be used to suppress religious minority's. we continue -- [applause] -- to stand for the rights of all people to practice their faiths in peace and in freedom. and we will continue to stand against the ugly tide of anti-semitism that rears its
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ugly head all too often. i look forward to nominating our next ambassador at large for international religious freedom to help lead these efforts am and we are moving ahead our new strategy to partner more closely with religious leaders and faith communities as we carry out our foreign policy. and want to thank shaun casey from the wesley theological seminary for leading this work at the state department. john i think is here today and we want to thank him for the outstanding work he is doing. thank you. [applause] >> so around the world we are elevating our engagement with faith leaders and making it a regular part of our diplomacy. and today i invite you to join us in focusing on several pressing challenges. let's do more together to advance human rights, including religious freedom. let's do more to promote the develop and that when one describes, from ending extreme poverty to saving lives from hiv-aids to combating climate change so that we can preserve
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god's incredible creation. on all these issues, faith leaders and faith organizations secure united states and around the world are incredible partners and we are thankful to them. and in contrast to those who wield religious divide, let's do more to nurture the dialogue between faiths that can break the cycles of conflict and build true peace, including in the holy land. and, finally, as we build the future we seek, let us never forget those who were persecuted today. among them americans. we pray for 10 a day, a christian missionary -- 10 if the bank has been held for 15 months. sentenced 215 years of hard labor. his family wants him home in the united states will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release because he deserves to be free. [applause]
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>> we pray for -- held in iran for more than 18 months, since the eight years in prison on charges relating to his christian beliefs. and as we continue to work for his freedom today, again, we call on the iranian government to release the pastor so you can return to the loving arms of his wife and children in idaho. [applause] him and as we pray for all prisoners of conscience, whatever the face, whatever they are held, let's imagine what it must be like for them. we may not know their names, but all the around the world there are people are waking up in cold cells facing another day of confinement, another day of
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unspeakable treatment, simply because they are affirming god. despite they have all endured, despite all of the awful punishments, they will wait for that moment when the cards aren't looking when they can close their eyes and bring their hands together and pray. in those moments of peace, of grace, those moments when their faith is tested in ways that those of us who are more comfortable never experience. in those faraway cells, i believe that are broken souls are made stronger your and i hope that somehow they hear our prayers for them. that they know that along with the spirit of god, they have our spirit with hi them as well, tht they are not alone.
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today, we give humble thanks for the freedoms we cherish in this country. and i join you in seeking god's grace in all of our lives. i pray that his wisdom will give us the capacity to do right and to seek justice and to defend the oppressed wherever they may go. i want to thank all of you for the extraordinary privilege of being here this morning to i want to ask you for your prayers as i continue in this awesome privilege and responsibility as president of the united states. may god bless the united states of america, and god bless all of those who seek peace and justice. thank you very much. [applause] >> follow the president's comments and this event later in our program schedule and, of course, online in our video library at c-span.org. we will take you to the u.s. senate. they are gaveling in to resume consideration of a bill extending for three months
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unemployment insurance benefits that expired at the end of last year. several votes to limit debate on the measure could occur around 11 a.m. eastern. also possible this afternoon the nomination of montana senator max baucus to be the next u.s. ambassador to china. now live to the senate floor you onto t c-span2. of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., february 6, 2014. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable brian schatz, a senator from the state of hawaii, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 298. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 298, s. 1963, a bill to repeal section 403 of the bipartisan budget act of 2013. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following my remarks and those of the republican leader, the senate will resume consideration of s. 1845, the unemployment insurance extension act. the filing deadline for first-degree amendments to that is 9:45 today, a few minutes from now. the deadline for second-degree amendments to the reid amendment -- that's reed of rhode island -- in the bill is
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10:45. i ask unanimous consent that cloture vote on the reed substitute which is now scheduled for 11:00 a.m. be at 2:00 and there be two votes at that time. there could be another roll. we'll work that out. we'll see what happens on the cloture vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: as i said, mc, there will be two roll call votes. first cloture on the reed amendment. if cloture is not invoked, a second vote on the underlying bill. and we hope to be able to work something out for senator baucus' nomination to be ambassador to china this afternoon. mr. president, i'm told that there is a bill s. 1996 due for second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: s. 1996, a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting, and for other purposes. mr. reid: i would object to any further proceedings with regard to this matter.
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the presiding officer: the objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i have had the good fortune of serving in congress for more than three decades with a good man, the senior senator from montana, max baucus. we hope to schedule a vote sometime this afternoon on his confirmation to be our nation's ambassador to china. senator baucus has served in the senate for a long time. at the end of this year, it would be 36 years. he served prior to that in the house of representatives for four years. prior to that, he served a term in the montana state legislature. he has an undergraduate degree from stanford, a law degree from stanford. he is an extremely smart person and certainly versed in what goes on here in the congress of the united states.
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after he received his law degree from stanford, he worked as an attorney at the securities and exchange commission, and entered private practice in missoula after that. his mentor and the person that got him interested in politics is mike mansfield. i didn't know -- i shouldn't say i didn't know him. he attended a prayer breakfast and i met him on a number of occasions on our wednesday prayer breakfast, but he was a very quiet man. that's what everybody says about him. he was the worst in the world on a sunday show because he wouldn't say anything. yes, no. but he was well respected in the senate by democrats and republicans. he's the one -- i have heard max tell the story a lot of times, senator baucus tell the story a lot of times about mike mansfield suggesting to him that he go into politics. well, he did do that. senator baucus served two years in the montana state legislature
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before he was elected in 1974 to the house of representatives. he served, as i indicated earlier, four years in the house before coming to the senate. he has been elected to the senate and re-elected five times. as i said, at the end of this year, it will be 36 years in the senate. he has been chairman of the finance committee. he has been chairman of the environment and public works committee. he is a very long-time member of the agriculture committee, which by the way he got on there on a temporary basis many, many decades ago and has never left. as chairman of the senate finance committee, he was instrumental in developing landmark legislation, lots of it, but the most significant law passed in a long time in this body was the landmark health care reform bill, the affordable care act, which is saving lives and a lot of money for american taxpayers. he has been a long-time advocate for the children's health insurance program. he worked on that with a number
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of people, not the least of which senator orrin hatch of utah. while senator baucus is well known nationally for his tireless work on tax reform and of course public works projects because of his spot on the environment and public works committee, i think the most important thing that montanans will always remember about him is he always put montanans first. he is an avid hunter and fisher, author of one of the largest public land grant bills in american history which preserved 310,000 acres of forest land in northwestern montana. it's a testament to his love of the outdoors that max baucus walked almost a thousand miles across montana in 1995 and 1996 and max and i have an ongoing dialogue about running. i have run a number of marathons, but max baucus is a better runner than i am. he's faster, and he has run -- i
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ran one 31-mile race, but max has run 50-mile races and he's trained for 100-mile races. during one of those, he fell and hurt himself quite significantly. he hit his head as he fell. we exchange news articles, stories about runners. we enjoy focusing on our athletic skills. between just the two of us, we can say whatever we want because there is no one there to listen. he is someone who loves running. he still is an avid runner. i admire him for his athletic skills in addition to his legislative skills. senator baucus' independent spirit has made him a powerful advocate for montana, for the issues he cares deeply about.
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he is a respected member of the democratic caucus and has great respect in the republican caucus. during the time that senator grassley was the ranking member and i guess sometimes i can't vouch for this but i think i'm right, the chairman of the committee, the finance committee, they met every week for lunch. every week we're in session, they had lunch together. his passion is well known to all of us, his decades of experience here in congress, and he is an excellent choice that president obama made to represent america's interest in china, the growing power in our global economy. he has never shied away from the difficult issues of the day. i have no doubt that his fearlessness will serve him well as a representative of our country in china. although senator baucus will be missed by the entire democratic caucus and the entire senate family, our loss will be the nation's gain. i wish you the very best, senior
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senator from montana, max baucus. mr. president, we'll vote this afternoon on senator baucus' nomination to be ambassador to china. i hope so. we don't have that locked in yet. we're also going to vote at 2:00 to advance a three-month extension of emergency unemployment insurance that won't add a penny to the deficit. we have originally said three months, should be paid for. republicans say it has to be paid for. we have had two, i thought, really uncontroversial issues that paid for it. the first one didn't work. i think that's wrong, but it didn't work. no one complains about the second one. so certainly, mr. president, any no vote on extending unemployment benefits is a no vote because they don't want to extend unemployment benefits. we have the junior senator from oklahoma for a number of years has talked about millionaires
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should not draw unemployment benefits. i agree with him, and that's in jack reed's amendment that we are going to vote on later today. under this legislation, we have accepted the senior -- the junior senator from oklahoma's suggestion that millionaires shouldn't be able to draw unemployment benefits. so we have done virtually everything the republicans asked. they will come up with a lot of excuses why we can't do this, they want amendments, but, mr. president, that is just a loss leader. we offered them 20 amendments before, it wasn't good enough. so i would hope that we could have a few gallant republicans vote to help the people that are in desperate need of help. i'm sorry to say that it appears senate republicans appear poised to filibuster this important legislation a second time, despite the fact we have compromised on every one of their demands. republicans complain the bill wasn't paid for. we found an offset that was amenable to, i think, just about
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everybody, certainly those people that were originally on the bill, heller, murkowski, collins. it's my understanding they accept that. i hope more do. we need five republican votes. republicans have complained after that first vote they wouldn't vote on extension of unemployment insurance without reforms to the program so we did that also. we talk about the 20 relevant amendments which did he they didn't agree to. they refused every reasonable offer to move forward on this legislation. i'm beginning to believe there is nothing to get republicans to say yes, with the exception of a few reasonable republicans that have taken the human toll into consideration, republicans simply don't want to extend these benefits. their obstruction has already cost the nation $2.2 billion during the last five weeks, a body blow to small business around the country. every week they delay, another
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73,000 americans lose these crucial benefits, benefits that help them keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. i shared a story very, very recently of a 57-year-old woman who was couched surfing, i never heard that term before, but i understand it, sleeping on friends' cowmps because we isn't dunt have a home anymore. she sold all her belongings to have gas when she had a job interview. she doesn't want a handout, she wants a job. so, mr. president, i've had some good conversations with republican senators and i hope that they will go ahead and let this important piece of legislation pass. we are going to move just as quickly as we can to some bills that have been reported on a bipartisan basis out of committees. we're looking closely at the help committee, energy committee and there are other committees we're going to look at to see if we can bring a bipartisan bill here to the
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floor, have agreement on amendments and try to move forward on that basis. so as we vote today, i hope my republican colleagues will keep in mind that we need to move forward on this. it's so important to help people who are desperately in need of help like this 57-year-old woman from nevada. i hope they'll work with us to advance this bill and legislation in the future more efficiently than we have in the past.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: just last year i.r.s. officials and an inspector general's report confirmed what we've been hearing from constituents transvestite quite a while, that the i.r.s. was being used to target americans for daring to exercise their first amendment rights. for daring to think differently, for daring to hold opinions contrary to high-ranking government officials. they confirmed that civic groups the administration opposed, including at least one in my home state of kentucky, were harassed and bullied by the i.r.s. they confirmed that individuals who supported these groups were intimidated and attacked. and they confirmed something else, too, that this happened in
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the runup to a national election. so americans were rightly outraged, outraged, when the worst fears of citizen organizations came to light. and americans rightly expressed the obama -- the american people rightly expected the obama administration to take concrete steps to end this harassment once and for all. to put safeguards in place that would ensure the same kind of abuse could never, ever happen again. but that's not what happened. no, in fact, basically the opposite of that happened. the obama administration now seems to be trying to legitimize the harassment after the fact. to enact regulations that would essentially allow the i.r.s. to bully and intimidate americans
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who exercise their right of free speech. it's something they were originally planning to actually slip by while the harassment was actually still going on. but here's the thing -- the administration knew it could never get anything like that through congress the democratic way, so it's trying to quietly impose these new regulations through the back door, through the back door by executive fiat. administration officials insist the rules change is just a minor -- just a minor bureaucratic adjustment. nothing to it, they say. they claim it's just a good-government idea from the i.r.s., a response to the inspector general report that brought these terrible abuses to light. but, of course, we know that's not true. we know that the administration has been working on this
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proposed rule for at least two years -- two years -- before the inspector general report came out. and from the looks of things, there's nothing good government about this at all. like so much of what we've seen with the obama administration, it's almost purely political. transparently political. under the administration's proposed regulations, many citizen groups could be prohibited -- prohibited -- from participating in some of the most basic civic engagement activities. things like voter registration, issue advocacy, and educating citizens about candidates before an election. this is just plain wrong. grassroots groups shouldn't be persecuted for doing the very things americans expect them to do. they shouldn't be forced to shut up or shut down for engaging in the very kind of educational
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activities that 501-c-4 nation was -- designation was kind do support. the idea is to shut down the voices that oppose the administration's priorities and it comes on the heels of a long-running pet project of this administration to expose conservative donors to harassment in order to try to dry up their funding. americans who care about the first amendment need to stand up to this regulation before the administration has a chance to finalize it. the american people need to stand up to this regulation before the administration has a chance to finalize it. and they actually are. more than 20,000 citizens have already submitted comments on this proposed rule at regulations.gov, northeasterly all the ones i saw were opposed. -- nearly all the ones i saw
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were opposed. in the house representative dave camp has proposed legislation that would prevent the i.r.s. from implementing any such regulation and next week along with senator flake, senator roberts and i will introduce companion legislation that would do the same thing here in the senate. but i hope it doesn't have to come to that. there's a much easier fix here. there's a way out of this dilemma. the new commissioner of the i.r.s., john koskinen, can put a stop to the rule right now if he chooses. he can stop this thing right now if he chooses. and if he means it when he said when the senate confirmed him, the comments we heard about restoring integrity to the i.r.s., then he'll do just that. the speaker and i along with top senate and house leadership and leadership of the relevant authorizing and appropriating committees have just sent a
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letter to mr. koskinen on this topic, and we look forward to his response. back in the 1970's, richard nixon famously tried to influence the i.r.s. into helping him punish his political opponents. you see, the i.r.s. has been in this spot before. back then, the i.r.s. commissioner stood up to president nixon and said essentially no, that's not what this agency is supposed to do. so the history of this is, when a previous i.r.s. commissioner had a president of the united states try to use him to target his political enemies, the commissioner of i.r.s. stood up to the president and said no. said no to the president. you can't use the i.r.s. to target your political enemies. that act of courage and independence became the defining act of an already distinguished
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career. and it was something the american taxpayer should be forever grateful for. so today, commissioner koskinen has a similar choice. he can either be remembered as the man who reformed this i.r.s. at a time when americans were deeply distrustful of it, or he can be remembered as the man who allowed himself to be used by the administration for its own political ends. that's the choice. the bottom line is this -- americans need to be able to trust the i.r.s. again. and that means getting out of the nation's -- getting our nation's tax agency back into the commission it was -- mission it was designed to proarm, things like processing tax returns, not regulating free speech. the obama administration's proposed rule has almost
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nothing, nothing to do with actual tax policy. it's more about making harassment of its political opponents the official policy of the i.r.s. that, mr. president, is completely unacceptable. remember, this is an agency that has access to some of america's most sensitive personal information. the power to audit, to penalize, to harass, power that is pretty wide-ranging. so it's not surprising that groups all across the political spectrum from the aclu to the chamber of commerce chamber have expressed concerns about this rule.
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so let's be clear. let's be perfectly clear. commissioner koskinen, you know, you know that the i.r.s. has no business regulating free speech. you know that. the eyes of america are on you. they're counting on you to do the right thing. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 1845, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 265, s. 1845, a bill to provide for the extension of certain unemployment benefits and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 11:00 a.m. will be equally
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divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees.
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